- Answers have been combined into one Q&A article along with other candidate’s responses.
- The order of answers displayed have been randomised.
- All candidates were given equal opportunity to respond and given the same deadline.
- Only those candidates who responded to the questions by the deadline have been included in this Q&A.
G: Georgie Cooper
J: Jennifer Lowe
H: Hayden Kelly
Why do you think it’s important to have student representation through organisations like UNSA or student media like Opus?
J: I think it’s important because it holds affiliated organisations to account and instils the need for transparency.
G: So that students can make their voices heard and shape their university experience! For instance, the SRC regularly raises issues directly with University executives through meetings, reports, or holding student forums (as we did with the recent UON restructure).
What do you think UNSA is doing well for student wellbeing, and what do you think could be improved upon?
J: I think UNSA is doing well with creating events that benefit the student population such as the free food initiative and the free food barbeque. I have helped in both of these events and seen how much they mean to the students who come to these events. What I would improve is the SRC structure and so it can allow for more representation of students from all different colleges.
G: UNSA has been rapidly expanding its welfare supports, notably free/discounted food initiatives; growing the Equity Collectives and their events; and advocacy of SRC members for student wellbeing and EDI, including on the UON NSSS/SASH Action Plan. The SRC should continue advocating for improved wellbeing measures at UON including safe and inclusive campuses, more counsellors to support students, and manageable course requirements.
How have you been involved with student groups so far? (Including events/activities, clubs/societies, advocacy, student media, etc).
J: I am currently a SRC member in the role of the accessibility and equity collective convenor. I am a part of the Institutional EDI committee, and I have represented many different groups in terms of advocacy.
G: As VP, I’ve helped with many UNSA events, from weekly BBQs to the UNSA Ball coming up in November; and represented students on University committees such as Campus Activation. I’m also involved in several clubs including UON Cheerleading (VP), UON Wilderness Society (Secretary) & UNLSA, which have been core parts of my student experience!
What do you see as the biggest issue currently affecting students and, if elected as President, what would you propose as a solution?
J: The biggest issue affecting students is the pain and disconnection that I feel at being on Uon the lack of trust between the student and the union or the students and the university. It’s such a rift that there’s even a saying for it “Well that’s just Uon”. This has happened for many different reasons I feel and there is not just one reason that this happened, but we need time to heal and to unite. I propose having key staff from the university and union talk one-on-one with students, do focus groups and really listen to the challenges that the students at Uon face and work with them not as “just” students but as equals.
G: While there are many areas I’m keen to work on, the closure of the Hunter Building and Shortland cafeteria left a gaping hole in food options and student spaces at Callaghan, with other campuses also lacking in these essential offerings. As President I’ll continue advocating for more student spaces and affordable food options on all campuses.
Can you describe a time that you took on a leadership role? What do you consider the most valuable lesson you learned from that experience?
J: A good leader should listen and lead by example.
G: My time as VP has helped me develop my leadership style of leading from behind and advocating for the needs of others, while maintaining relationships and always using diplomacy as a first approach (“you catch more flies with honey”).
Hey, I’m Mel Jenkins, your Editor of the Opus Magazine and fellow student, studying a Bachelor of Communications. When I’m not working, studying, or playing netball, you’ll find me at the beach, having a boogie at the club, or napping. I also LOVE camping and exploring new places, so if you have any suggestions for a uni girl on a budget—send some ideas my way!